Homemade Laundry Detergent (Safe For Babies Too!)

I was spending the afternoon with my grandma and she asked me if I wanted to help her make soap. I enthusiastically said yes thinking she meant normal artisan bar soap. She sent me a shopping list of 3 ingredients (more on that below) and when I arrived, she announced that we were making laundry soap. This is the same recipe that she has made for 40 years.

Is Homemade Laundry Soap Worth It?

This soap costs about $0.05-$0.10 per load. This is a stark contrast to the expense of most laundry detergents from the store, which is often more than $0.20 per load.

Not only that, but it drastically reduces waste. Sure, there is some packaging in the cardboard washing soda and borax boxes, as well as a paper wrapper for the Fels-Naptha soap, but that waste pales in comparison to the big plastic jugs that traditional soap comes in. Also, one batch of this goes a lot longer than store-bought jugs of laundry detergent.

The other thing that I didn't realize until I got pregnant is that people often purchase a separate baby detergent from their regular laundry detergent. This is because we don't want to expose our babies to the harsh chemicals and fragrances residing in regular laundry detergent. That's all fine, except why do babies just get the special treatment? Shouldn't we choose clean, whole products for our entire family?

Needless to say, this inexpensive and simple recipe will save your family from excessive spending AND chemical exposure.

Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe


  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • Fels Naptha bar soap

What is Fels-Naptha?

Fels-Naptha is a brand of bar-style laundry soap that is currently manufactured by the Dial Corporation. It’s used primarily for pre-treating laundry stains. It’s also believed to be helpful for treating poison ivy and other skin-irritating conditions.


  1. Grate your soap thoroughly into a large bowl (I also used my Ninja to do this with no problem, but you only want to do this with a high-powered motor. My grandma said she broke her food processor trying to do this).
  2. Add 1 cup Borax and 1 cup of washing soda to the grated soap.
  3. Stir until thoroughly mixed (or use a food processor!)
  4. Store the powdered detergent in an airtight container.
  5. Use approximately two tablespoons per load.


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